The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi train guide

Cruising train
The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi (left) and the limited express Isaburo / Shinpei (right) at Hitoyoshi station (C) そらみみ [CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia commons]

The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi runs between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi. This train is also known as one of JR Kyushu’s sightseeing trains. It runs along Kumagawa river and it is very scenic. Kawasemi Yamasemi are the name of birds. Kawasemi is a common kingfisher and Yamasemi is a crested kingfishter.

I would like to explain about this train in this post.

Timetable and route

Kawasemi Yamasemi operation route map
Click to view large

The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi runs three round trips a day. The trip time is 1.5 hours from Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi. The limited express Isaburo / Shinpei also runs on same segment. You also can take this train to travel between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi. Please find the information about the limited express Isaburo / Shinpei in the link below:


You may find the timetable in JR Kyushu official site. Please refer the link below:

JR Kyushu official site – The route map and the timetable of JR Kyushu trains


Kawasemi Yamasemi is operated by fully renovated Kiha-47 series. Kiha-47 series is very common diesel fleet for the local train. But the fleet for Kawasemi Yamasemi is not a common fleet any more. It is designed by JR Kyushu chief designer, Mr. Eiji Mitooka. Most of JR Kyushu trains are designed by Mr. Mitooka. He also designed many trains of other railway companies. In his design, the wood materials are used lots. The train has nice Japanese style cozy interior.

Car #1 (Kawasemi) interior (C) Rsa [CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia commons]
Car #2 (Yamasemi) interior (C) Rsa [CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia commons]

Train formation

Kawasemi Yamasemi is operated by two cars formation. Car #1 is called Kawasemi and car #2 is Yamasemi.


Train #1 and #2


Train #3, #4, #5 and #6

One round trip of three round trips have non reserved car. But other two round trips do not. Reservation is required to take #3 to #6.

The view from the train

The scenery of Kumagawa river. The train in the photo is not Kawasemi Yamasemi
(C) MK Products (GFDL from Wikimedia commons)

As I mentioned, this train runs along Kumagawa river between Yatsushiro and Hitoyoshi. If you travel to Hitoyoshi, Kumagawa river is righthand side at the beginning. But the river runs lefthand side from the middle part of the trip. So both side is okay. In my opinion, the lefthand side is a bit better.

Coverage by the rail pass

The following three rail passes cover this train fully. Reserved seat fee is covered as well. No extra charge is required on top of these passes.


This train runs on very scenic route. If you travel from Kumamoto to Kagoshima, the Kyushu Shinkansen is the fastest and most convenient route. But if you have some extra time, you can take this train to Hitoyoshi. And then take Isaburo / Shinpei from Hitoyoshi to Yoshimatsu. And take another limited express train Hayato no Kaze from Yoshimatsu to Kagoshima-Chuo. I traveled on this route many years ago. It was before Kawasemi Yamasemi was introduced. But you can find my trip report in the link below:

Enjoy the scenic route by the unique trains.

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